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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Oct 22, 2009 8:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Well, it's hard for me to imagine why anyone wouldn't automatically regale 1977 as BY FAR the band's greatest year.

But that's what makes horse races. I'll just repeat at the risk of redundancy ;-) that the reasons I think '77 is the best is that

1) The sets, while largely similar, are played pristinely with few if any of the verbal and musical flubs that marked the band's earliest years, and certainly their 80's-90's period.

2) The vocals are not yet shot a la the 80's and especially Jerry in the '90's.

3) The mastery of material they've been playing for years up til this point now allows them to open up the jams on songs that before were pretty tame (listen to any pre-1977 Jack Straw, then cue up a '77 and try telling me the song hasn't become far more blazing now.)

4) Terrapin Freaking Station material. 'Nuff said.

5) Cliff, you're one of my favorite forum-ites...but dude, I want to give you the Python fish-slapping dance every time I hear you says there was no extended jamming in '77. JUST NOT TRUE. Go RIGHT NOW to 5/26/77 and listen to the 20+ minute monster jam on NFA. Go NOW to to the OTHER ONE from the Winterland June run and tell me that's not an extended jam project. Oh, and BTW, I'll take the jamming from 10/29/77 on EYES and LIG and ESTIMATED --over some formless feedback nonsense of 45 minutes from some lame '73 show any old day, thank you. Length does NOT equal quality (a way of saying 'size doesn't matter', I suppose ;-)

The jamming in '77 was just more laser-focused. You get more bang for your buck.

Also, they rocked the house in '77: SAMSON, DEAL, PASSENGER, TOO, TRUCKIN', 1/2 STEP...all were just blazing rock animals that year. Overrated? I say not, sir!

Now, what IS overrated?

OK, here are my votes:

6/30/85. Everyone raves about the Shakedown. Why?

5/6/81. Agree: don't see why this was a Dix Pick. Pretty decent but not especially great '81 show. 5/1/81 is WAY better.

2/15/73: Why this is one of the most downloaded shows ever is beyond me. 6/22/73 is a million times better, as is almost any late-year '73 show when Donna was on hiatus having her kid. Oh, and while we're on the subject: don't get me started on '77 set lists being similar when virtually EVERY 1973 show looks exactly on paper like the one before it. Even the Darkstars are ridiculously predictable. (Nice jazzy jamming for 20 minutes followed by ten minutes of ugly noise into something nice on the other end.)

WALL OF SOUND and 1974 in general: Ugh. Vocals sound tinny. Sound overall is high treble; Phil suffers. Some nice exceptions thrown in (6/14, 2/22 and 2/24 among them) and VERY GOOD China>Riders this year, but overall a pretty un-even and I believe overrated year. No wonder they needed a break when it ended.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 22, 2009 8:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

good points on '77 but even i have say that 10-29-77 is overrated. You agree i am sure.

Interestingly 2 of the 3 exceptions that you point to for '74 were not actually full wall of sound shows (the ones in Feb) so it is consistent with why you don't like the year as much.

2-15-73 downloads is a classic example of the problem with equating downloads with popularity. When this place was basically unattended for 2 years, that show was the "featured show" in the box in the upper left hand corner of the home page. Views count as downloads so I am sure that every time someone new came to the site, they clicked the link. Many of those "top downloaded shows" were featured at one point during the last 4 years.

Now 9-19-70 has occupied that feature box for months, although this is not due to lack of site upkeep it is by order of the Prime Minister who will not allow them to change it.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 22, 2009 9:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated


Pardon that emotional outburst. Wait til I replace it with 12-29-68 next year...

Speaking of posts that go ignored, as you alluded to with one of yours (of course, I forgot which of the many), I mentioned the biz about some 70s shows not sounding as "intense" as they did live, and though we discussed this many times in the past, no one responded you think the point you made about 74 shows/wall contribute to this "70s shows often suck recording wise" (over-stated for effect!)? One of my consistent probs with Oct 74, SYF album, is the low intensity sound, IMHO...flat, uninspired--blah (again, the recording moreso than the playing).

Or is my whole critique of the sound of 70s DPs, SBDs, etc., just another example of my myopia/early era bias? Does Grendel say "WTF is Tell on about now?! I think 5-7-77 is as well recorded and intense sounding as any 71 show!"

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Oct 22, 2009 9:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

I actually asked about WoS boards and why they sound the way they do once and the post was not ignored. I thought it might be because of the mics they were using to eliminate feedback from having them in front of the speakers resulted in a change in the ambient sound. Not sure I ever got an answer but I do think they sound different. By contrast there are some '77 boards that, to my ears, sound incredible. I assumed that some of this was because of the types of halls they were playing that year and the Mosque show always comes immediately to mind. Although I am not a musician I don't think you can discount the effects of the changes in equipment that occurred from the end of your era. Jerry switched guitars going into '72 and it did change his sound. For me songs like Bertha and Loser have always sounded better in '71 because of the raw sound of Jerry's guitar. I don't think this is because of the quality of his playing, just the sound that quality produced coming through different guitars. Although I think Jerry took that sweet sounding guitar in '77 and altered his solo in Bertha to something that sounded pretty nice. I just like the '71 sound better for those songs. Bobby changed his playing and his equipment after the break in fashion that also could be perceived as having less intensity. As has been mentioned here on many occasions, the band also played with the tempo of songs through the years and out of the break it seems that more slowed down than sped up. That said, I loathe '77 versions of Saint Stephen.

I don't think this makes one era quantitatively better or worse, however it can easily explain why some one like you would prefer one era while Grendelschoice could prefer another. Which brings me back to my problem with discussions of things being overrated (you knew i would get here at some point, we need Earl to insert his beating a dead horse emoticon). I think it gets confused too easily with personal preference.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 22, 2009 11:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

Oh yeah--I think this is a big issue...Jerry's tone is the one thing I have harped on continually (hmmm--ignoring your posts must have led to me thinking I was the only talking about this fact...harumph).

But, I would respectfully disagree a bit on what the inference from that is...for example, stretching your point, one could say, "WT is off base cause he doesn't like Jerry's singing in 95! It just changed!" and we would counter with, "no, it was degraded" and I think, have a point. Those that argue it is all taste have actually countered that counter with "but a degraded voice sounds better for his songs!" to which I counter "pffftt!"

Anyhow, another good day, and another exchange that leaves us a little closer to understanding why we sometimes get something out of not ignoring one another's posts...

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 22, 2009 12:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Top 5 Most Over-Rated

12-29-68 - is that supposed to be good or something? I just listened to it and thought it was a bit, you know, blah.

What's up with that then, eh?